Basic Marketing Ideas for Photographers

Some years ago, I watched a marketing video that a very successful entrepreneur put together.

In the video, they said something that has really stuck with me –

“In order to have a steady flow of leads, you need at least 7 marketing channels going at all times.”

For me, I found this to be incredibly true. I always have the most leads coming into my inbox when I’m regularly working at least 7 streams of marketing.

So if your goal was to start a business and rely solely on Facebook for leads – think again. You’re going to need to spend a substantial amount of time digging in to the various marketing channels at your disposal.

If you’re having a hard time thinking of other marketing options outside of Facebook, here’s a list you can use to get you started:

1. Newsletters

Newsletters are a great way to keep in touch with both past clients and prospective clients. You can let people know about upcoming time slot openings, special deals, new products – anything, really.

I’d even encourage you to get a little personal – the more personable you are, the easier you are to relate to. Since people buy from people they know, like, and trust, the more you can instill the likeability factor, the better!

There’s lots of options for email newsletter providers, and many integrate easily with common website platforms like WordPress, Wix, and SquareSpace.

I personally like MailChimp, but there’s plenty of great ones like Mailer Lite, Aweber, and Active Campaign, to name a few.

Just make sure you’re consistent. I always recommend sending something out at least once a month.

Plus, newsletter signups are contacts that you own – if Facebook or social media websites were to disappear tomorrow, you could still get in touch with leads via their email address.

2. Networking

You really can’t beat in-person communication. If you serve families, think about the types of events that your ideal client attends – maybe it’s booster meetings, a local neighborhood company that does swimming lessons, etc.

If you do boudoir, think about where the type of women you serve hang out – salons, specific clothing shops, maybe local book clubs or wineries/bars.

Essentially, think about your ideal client and the types of places they hang out. Do your best to attend those types of events and talk to people!

3. Referral Program

It’s always easier to sell to people who have already bought from you before. What incentives can you offer repeat clients to encourage them to book again?

Can you offer them 50% off their booking fee? A complimentary spread in their album? A 2-hour session for the price of one?

Think of your ideal client and what would incentivize them the most to book. Then get creative and find a way to give it to them!

4. Cross-Promotion With Other Businesses

Your ideal clients patronize other businesses, and chances are there’s a trend in the types of businesses they patronize. Can you offer a special gift for your services to customers of other businesses?

For example – can you offer a $99 booking fee to clients of a particular salon?

You’d have to work with the business owner to figure out how they give out your business card or postcard, but as long as they’re willing to do it, definitely pursue this avenue.

Keep in mind, they’ll probably expect some reciprocity (i.e., you pass on a special gift for their business to your clients), but if you serve a similar clientele, this should only sweeten the pot for your clients.

5. Host An Event

Could you put together a book club where you invite past clients and ask them to bring friends? Or maybe have a movie night in the studio?

What type of event would your ideal clients like to go to, and could you plan something like that?

This is a great opportunity to meet new people and network face-to-face. It’s also a great opportunity to provide an incentive for people to book that’s only available for the day of the event (or a short period of time afterwards).

This would also be an opportunity to collects emails. You can either have a paper signup form at the event or use something like a laptop or tablet that allows people to sign up.

6. SEO

If people are looking for your photography services online, make sure you show up at the top of the list!

Make sure you’re regularly posting to a blog and using good keywords to make sure people can find you when they’re looking.

If you don’t know how to use good SEO, there are a ton of great resources out there. This will get you started and give you some good actionable takeaways.

7. Donate to a Fundraiser or Charity

Are there any charity or fundraising events that your ideal client attends? Consider donating something!

Even if you donate a session fee, you could still make great product sales and create a repeating client.

8. Social Media (Unpaid & Organic)

It’s true that social media is becoming a pay-to-play platform for businesses. However, having a page that’s regularly updated is still a good idea.

It’s also a great place to showcase recent sessions and tag your clients (as long as they’re ok with being tagged). Chances are, when they see their photos featured, they’ll share it to their page for their friends and family.

Facebook Live videos are also a great way to connect with followers, as Facebook gives priority to live content.

Schedule regular Facebook Live streams relating to things your ideal client would be interested in. If you’re a family photographer, it could be ideas for summer kids activities.

If you shoot weddings, it could be something about choosing the right venue or how to plan a destination wedding.

It could also be just you in the studio giving a studio tour and talking about what it’s like to work with you.

You could even do some streams that are a little more personal and talk about you, or maybe show off your new favorite outfit, a new recipe, a new favorite place to go hiking, etc. Get creative!

9. Start A Facebook Group

Start a group on Facebook for your ideal clients where you can regularly interact and talk about topics important to them.

You can even use it as a space to plan events and get-togethers, offer advice, and create a community of like-minded people.

10. Facebook Ads (Paid Marketing)

Facebook Ads are different than posting to your page, and have to be treated differently, which is why I created a separate category for them.

Chances are your ideal client is on Facebook, so you want to be in front of them there!

Facebook ads are a great way to lead clients through the customer journey from awareness to booking.

If you’re completely confused by the Facebook Ads platform – don’t worry! I’ve created a free course on my website that walks you through the basics and gives you some best practices.

You can check it out here.

11. Google Ads

If you don’t want to wait for your website to organically appear on Page 1 of Google, the good news is you don’t have to!

If you pay for Google Ads, your website will be more likely to show up in search results for people searching for the services you offer.

Just be aware that overall the costs (such as cost per click) are generally higher than they are for Facebook.

Plan It Out

How do you keep it all straight?

Simple – a calendar!

Make a plan for when you work on what marketing stream. And most importantly, stick with it! These will only pay off if you’re consistent and commit to it.

If you’re struggling with time, it’s possible you can delegate other tasks to someone else, such as editing.

Get in touch with me here and let’s talk about how I can help you out!


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